An artist’s depiction of what a wet Mars might have looked like. (Courtesy Photo)
by Daniel Wirtheim
1. Whose water is it?
You can bet there’s some corporate exec who just can’t wait to get his quivering little hands on Martian water. But the fear of corporate control of the water is not as real as political control. According to an article by the Guardian, in 2018 Russia plans on sending a rover to Mars that has a giant drill fit for water excavation. Space exploration has always been political but now we have real stakes: water and a possibility of bacterial life.
2. Who would be the first to go to Mars?
Most likely NASA has already cultivated a group for their 2030 Mars exploring missions. There’s going to be a lot of media coverage on this — to say the least — so these guys and gals are going to be public figures. Hopefully the first group of explorers won’t be the try-hards, those who only dream of having future Martian streets and post offices named after them.
3. How much of The Martian is based on scientific fact?
According to NASA there’s a surprising amount that’s based on of their own plans to send people to Mars in 2030; they even call it ”collaboration.” The one thing they really threw the BS flag on was the sandstorm, which couldn’t be that intense because Martian air is very thin.
4. How many blockbusters can we get out of this?
The Martian was sort of endorsed by NASA — at least they provided some tips. Now that the Mars colonization thing is catching on we can expect to be flooded by literature from nerds all over Earth.
5. Do we really want to go to Mars?
The Japanese have a term pronounced mono no aware, which roughly translates to the appreciation for the transience of life. It’s an appreciation for things like the cherry blossom, which blooms for a short period of time and then dies. It’s a sad tree, the cherry blossom, but its beauty comes from its ephemeral life. Why push the boundaries on the human experience? Mars looks like a pretty terrible place with nothing but problems. Can’t we all just agree that Earth is a really sweet deal?
6. Is that just something we tell ourselves because we’re jealous of Mars explorers?
Let’s face it: The inner nerd within us all really wants to go to Mars, but because we’re not perfectly fit and operationally minded people we’re not going. We should probably be excited that the human race is taking great strides to explore the universe, but for now we grudgingly watch Matt Damon eat feces-potatoes on Mars.